Ecliptic Butchery by Scorched
Once again, I love me some old school American death metal sounds. And as much as I’d like to spin “Cause of Death” or “Effigy of the Forgotten” into oblivion of the umpteen millionth time (although I have… and I will); I love seeing a young, rabid, band such as our friends in Scorched embrace their old school death metal influences and completely forge their own sound and vision. This sounds and vision just happens to be that of Ecliptic Butchery, a journey through the vilest and tortures recesses of space, time, death, and darkness. Scorched display front and center their exhibits of torture; exploring themes of extraterrestrial abduction, the certainty of impeding doom, and DIY intergalactic surgical procedures that run pervasively through it. Unfolding the intensifying gross layers upon layers of this recording, it plays out much like a concept record (wether it is or not is not my place to say. I would like it to be, though, therefore I am choosing to think of it as one because I am in control of my destiny until I’m clenched by the ever lethal hands of time, fate, and death… I suppose.) with all songs telling a story - in a very old school death metal tradition kind of way, and contributing to the overall vibe and theme of the record, which is what makes it so great. Don’t let the album’s titles, imagery, or my use of extraterrestrial vocabulary invoke you to the wrong mindset; Scorched are no “smarter-than-you technical jazz fusion death metal space philosophy” band… they are death fucking metal. And I couldn’t love them for that fact any more.
When new broke that Delawarian death metal freaks of nature Scorched would be unleashing their debut LP via our friends over at 20 Buck Spin, a fantastic extreme metal record label operating in our undead homeland of Pittsburgh that rarely puts out anything short of ridiculously good; my hype meter was out of this world (the first of many unsolicited outer space puns to ensue, please strap in and prepare for liftoff..). I was way digging the two singles the band released, Exhibits of Torture & Mortuary of Nightmares, for quite a while while I was patiently awaiting the rest of the record to be unleashed upon Earth. When the beautifully splattered vinyl hath arrived, I knew after the epic opening album title track, this would far exceed my expectations. The opening track of a death metal record is extremely vital, as extreme metal usually does not have much time to catch your attention and set itself apart from the myriads of other death metal bands out there, so it has to grab your attention through your jugular. Literally. If you look at any of your favorite extreme metal records, I can guarantee you the opening track is one of the stronger, if not the strongest, track on the record. That is for good reason and Scorched definitely understand this reason. The balls of Scorched are that of the wicked planets they are exploring with Blood Spatter Eclipse, not only the best title of the entire record but one of the best songs,; opening with eerie sound effects depicting an intergalactic funeral hymn that does a beautiful job at setting in the atmosphere for the madness that is about to ensue.. to a sludgy, lurking, heavier than all hell, classic death metal track complete with volcanic levels of percussion, menacing howls and guttural growls, and guitar so ripping and captivatingly evil.. Now, that’s a way to start a death metal record.
Disfiguring Operations follows suit and actually ups the anti just a little (a lot) a bit. Definitely flexing their death metal muscle with pushing a faster tempo is not only exciting but also becomes more impressive when they effortlessly shift between a “we’ve come to rip out your soul” level of speed to a down beat haunting groove complete with groovy yet devastating guitar tones and a drum groove and cymbal sound that’s borderline hypnotizing. Scorched is not here to prove their brutality via speed and destruction; rather by expanding their landscape of sound just a bit beyond the traditional realms of death metal’ providing eerie atmosphere inducing sound effects, groovy-yet-disgusting tempos and transitions, and just being experimental enough in their playing to be different. But, they definitely NOT lose their firm grasp on the old school death metal vibe, which is important and serves them very well. They definitely have concocted their own signature sound throughout the record with their vile alien operations in creepy guitar solos, hypnotically brutal dum patterns and haunting organ/keyboard outros such as depicted on dark masterpieces such as “Bodies Collect.” Scorched are more similar to their label cousins Tomb Mold than a band like Deicide… they bring the vibes, the darkness, the shattering speed and brutality, and lurking and groovy, thick, atmospheric and other worldly depth to this death metal production. And the best part is that it’s completely rooted in old school death metal and completely presented with a non-pretentious vibe. Think Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but, death metal. Did I mention death metal? Death metal.
SIDE B opens with a vengeance on the one two punch or throat slash of back to back singles, Exhibits of Torture and Mortuary of Nightmares. Easy too see why these two were singles, they dominate. The bass grooves crush for days and really shines in breakdowns as the dual guitarists Federico Dimarco and Steve Fuchs do a stellar job trading off duties and shifting in and out of Obituary and Carcass territory; as the lyrics being vomited by Matt Kapa could be up there with some of the classic death metal greats. Nothing overly vile or offensive, but nothing G-rated either…it’s just right. Like Goldie locks, only abducted by aliens, and disemboweled. The following 3 tracks of the record follow much in the same path as violently laid out by their predecessors. The display epically brutal musicianship through old school heavy, sweaty, lurking, gross, perhaps alien, death metal. As it should be. Scorched continue to mildly experiment with extraterrestrial demonic sounds and warped voices which surprisingly add depth to the mix and add some production value. They definitely are not overdone and do not sound cheesy, rather, pretty sweet.. or cheesy in a sweet brutal 80’s sci fi horror flick Re-Animator type way. Until the last track, Dissected Humanity, which has the coolest outro to a death metal record probably ever (??), the music is brutal and intriguing. Actually, the overall mix is done very well, it sounds like a legit old school death metal record - not that is necessarily the hardest production to capture in the world - but it has a refreshing legitimateness to it. The sound of the drums (snare specifically) have a great classic feel to them as well, and the drummer Matt Izzi kills it thorough out the entire record to perfection. I would like to see Scorched push a little more of the experimental noise on their next record, maybe expand their horizons a little bit more.. not necessarily pushing tech-death territory but in a way Death did it in their later career. I think they have a magnificent amount of potential executed correctly they could execute us all. Scorched rules. Death Metal Forever.
Gym Rating: 4/5
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